Saturday, February 28, 2009

Why I Keep Writing About the Media and the Economy When The Blog is Called Ottawa Watch

Because right now Canadian politics is so damn dull.
The Tories are a dull lot. Michael Ignatief hasn't captured my imagination. Jack Layton and the Blocheads are just contemptible.
Can you tell the difference between the policies of the Liberals and the Tories on major issues such as the economy, the environment, federal-provincial relations, the cities, health care or anything else that you might think of?
Neither can I.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Crunch Day

This looks like a non-starter and non-story: Reuter's Randal Palmer reports the government, at this time, has no plans to bail out the Aspers.
Meanwhile, ugly rumors circulate that the National Post could fold within days.
If memory serves, the rumors started in 2001. I don't think the Post will close anytime soon. It may be reconstructed, but at the core of it is the Financial Post, and I, for one, would love to own a piece of that.
I spent today among Parliamentary Press Gallery folks. You could cut the fear in the air into blocks and stack it. I've never seen anything like it.
Buyouts... layoffs... shortfalls... closures... management changes... it was all part of the grim wallpaper.

Canwest has been given eight business days -- until March 11 -- to come up with a plan to make its bankers happy.
Good luck.
There's a very interesting fact buried in this Reuters story. The bankers have killed the unused $188 million in Canwest's $300 million line of credit. In other words, it has to pay all its bills (including debt interest) from its own cash flow. It no longer has credit with the banks.
I'll be very interested to see what the Aspers consider to be "non-core assets" in the next few days.

The Saddest Story So Far In This Age of Greed

is here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Return of Lurch

The family trust that owns the Toronto Star -- the second and third generation heirs of the executives who took control of the paper in the 1950s, after the death of "Holy" Joe Atkinson -- has tossed out former U of T president Robert Pritchard and installed one of its own as chair of the board of TorStar.
TorStar also cut its rather rich dividend. This will come as some solace to the reporters in Kitchener, Guelph and Hamilton who were laid off this week by TorStar. They, and the journos already forced out of the company, will be thrilled TorStar's papers increased their profitability, and that all the losses came from the board's bad investment in a convergence play, CTVGlobemedia. Now, my question is this: does the person who recommended this investment and the people who approved it still work at TorStar?
The company's stock is now trading at about $5.50. If it had stuck with its old dividend, TorStar shareholders would have been getting a return of about 14%. In the real world, that would have driven the stock up, probably well over $15. Even now, the reduced dividend is about 7% on investment, meaning this stock should still be a really good investment at $10. But, of course, these are not reasonable times.
Now, you might ask yourself why a media company that claims to have lost more than $200 million and has gutted its newsrooms would be paying a dividend to anyone in this time of recession. You might ask yourself whether the money might have been used better as a reserve for the, um, uncertain times ahead. But then, you're not a member of the Thall, Hindmarsh, Atkinson and Honderich families whose need to maintain their lavish lifestyles far outweighs the need of TorStar for investment or, for that matter, survival.

On Bailouts and Stimulus

For what it's worth, I'm not sure New Deal-style infrastructure spending and corporate bail-outs are the answer to this recession.
In the past decade, trade patterns have been skewed against domestic manufacturers while small and medium-sized businesses, especially in retail, have been crushed. This recession actually started about four years ago in small-town America and Canada, especially in the US northeast, and has spread to the cities.
We can't afford to reward and backstop failure and greed. Yet Obama and Bush's bailouts have done precisely that. They have allowed bankers to ignore the consequences of their actions, have rewarded investors who bought high-risk garbage paper instead of investing in productive assets, and have done nothing to restore the flow of credit for capital investments. As well, letters of credit, essential for world trade, have become very hard to get. That's had the same effect as the tariffs of the 1930s: killing the movement of goods and destroying industry.
In Canada, it's unlikely that much stimulus money will be spent this summer on infrastructure projects. It's February, municipal and provincial budgets are already set, and it takes months to come up with projects, engineer and design them, put them out to tender, and start building. I wonder if governments can move fast enough to get these things going by the summer of 2010?
I believe infrastructure spending is long overdue. Still, is pumping money into the wallets of construction workers and contractors the only way to revive the economy? This is not 1931. No one who's lost a job at GM is going to be handed a shovel and put to work improving the Trans Canada Highway.
We need money for innovation and for stimulating manufacturing. That means pumping more cash into high tech research in Waterloo and Ottawa (where the National Research Council just cut jobs).
We also need to finally address the issues of one-resource and one-industry communities. Alberta has blown two big chances to use oil boom money to diversify. Northern and western communities are on the ropes.
And, I think, we need to look past this recession. What kind of economy will come out of it? If there are fewer jobs, how do we make them pay better? How can we generate enough wealth to reverse the erosion of wages, which have, in real terms, been driven so low that it takes two people working in a family to support a typical household. Forty years ago, one wage-earner could do it.
And what will we do with our cities, which have yet to feel the worst of this, but will certainly be suffering this time next year? Where will the jobs come from?
This is not just a question for government. Flinging borrowed money around -- as Congress is doing -- won't make much difference.
Business has to re-think the way it works. Perhaps more companies need to be taken private to end the focus on quarterly results. Certainly, more profits need to be plowed back into research and debt repayment.
But what we really need is a renewal of real capitalism: investment in productive assets, not paper; proper profit and compensation for real risk; salaries and wages that reflect real productivity.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thinkless Wells

Here, Paul Wells suspends his usual analytic depth when applying his time to discussing the crisis facing the print media in Canada.
Yes, Paul, I do blame the Aspers. As Leonard Asper points out, the newspaper chain and TV network make $500 million a year in profits. That's more than 10% on invested capital, which is a damn fine number. Even the National Post made a profit in the last quarter.
This is not a crisis about profit. It is a crisis about debt and bad management. Through the good years, the Aspers used the profits of their media empire to make down payments for more leveraged buyouts, and to enrich themselves. Instead, they should have been laying in a cash reserve to get through the recession that was bound to come. Now times aren't so good, and working journalists are among the people who are being forced to pay. So, yes, I blame the Aspers.
The situtation is far different in Canada than the States. Wells' little list is mainly made up of papers in cities with competition. The Aspers own the monopoly broadsheet newspapers in every major English-language market in Canada except Toronto, Halifax and the Kitchener-Windsor corridor.
(In southwestern Ontario, the papers are in trouble because they've been flipped so many times between the Aspers, TorStar, and Quebecor.)
The Aspers did what so many American corporations did: loaded themselves with debt at a time when they should have been paying down what debt they had. They're in the same boat as GM and the banks. It was reverse Keynsian economics. There was no way they could make it through a recession.
So, yes, I blame the Aspers. I also blame the journalists who should have been part of the whistle-blowing process.

Meanwhile, in its "toss the saloon chairs and tables behind yau as you race to the doors ahead of your pursuers" business strategy, Canwest is selling its share in Score Media for $8.1 million.

Economic historian Niall Ferguson nailed the whole thing in an interview the Globe was silly enough to publish online, thereby saving me $1.50:

The potential returns from buying distressed assets or from buying companies that can't roll over their debt, are double digit. So any individual institution liquid enough and not leveraged can start playing this game, and will play this game. This is going to be the beginning of a whole new investment strategy in which companies that can't roll their debt over end up being sold at bargain basement prices, or broken up and their assets sold at bargain-basement prices, in very, very large numbers.

That's exactly what Prem Watsa is planning for Canwest.

When you need something done right, call in a historian.

(HT on the Wells posting to Warren Kinsella).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When beancounters run the media...

gutting the newsroom is the first knee-jerk reaction to every financial crisis.
The Guelph Mercury just committed suicide and the publisher doesn't even realize it.
A tip of the hat and final salute to eleven more journalists who are now looking for jobs. They join the dozens of reporters and editors laid off this week from the Hamilton Spectator and the Kitchener-Waterloo Record.
News executives: when people tell you "I don't buy the paper because there's nothing in it," can't you see the cause and effect of newsroom cuts?
I had my first newspaper job on the Hamilton Spectator in the summer of 1978. The paper had a hefty staff that filled its large newsroom. I went into the Spec newsroom three or four years ago and it felt like I was wandering the Prairies. I can't imagine the skeleton staff that's left can put out a paper that is of any use to the people in Hamilton.
The storm that began brewing in the small-town papers of Canada in the early '90s -- long before the Internet -- has reached the cities.
Yup, thank God for the Internet. It's the best thing that ever happened to lousy media managers, puppet publishers and cowardly editors.

Yesterday, I listened to a talk by Mark Bulgutch, CBC's Senior Executive Producer News and News Specials, who wondered aloud about print media giving away their stories on the Internet. He, like me, argues the "giving away what you try to sell" business model doesn't sound like a winner.
I was glad to hear Mark's take on it. It's not what media managers are usually saying.

So, why do they do it? Why do corporate types think it's a great idea to splash news and feature articles, along with wire copy, on the Internet where people can read them for free? Why did publishers throughout the world play along with the idea that news copy has no value?
Because they never valued it. To them, news was a sort of duty, like following the CRTC's Canadian content rules on radio. They weren't in the business to gather news and sell it. They saw themselves as sellers of ads. They'll chase every little ad through the cyber universe, even if they have to give away the editorial content of the newspaper to do it.

Music publishers (i.e. record companies) understood the value of the creative process. The news media managers didn't. That's why you pay for music on the Internet, or you risk prosecution. So people -- even the pirates -- understand music has some worth but believe news is a free commodity.

I do believe the Internet will be a useful place for journalism, but we're nowhere near there yet. Until we get paid for our work as journalists, the Internet is just a toy. Our primary living is on paper, and the devotion of time and effort to the web should only come when there is a certainty of being paid. If I was publishing a newspaper, I would put nothing but teasers on a web page. And if I was on the board of CP, I would demand the member papers be banned from posting the co-op's copy.

The deep thinkers in academia, the people promoting convergence and multi-platform delivery, feel the same way as the media executives about the value of news and features. There is no place with greater contempt for working journalists and journalism than academia. And that goes for journalism schools, where tenured faculty normally wouldn't be caught dead doing journalism. While the typical sessional -- the people who teach one or two courses but still work in the business -- has a clue, most tenured faculty, who are steeped in bullshit communications theory, have no real credentials in journalism itself and are spiteful refugees from the business.

Meanwhile, for the second time in two weeks, the Dominion Bond Rating Service and Moody's have downgraded Canwest's debt. I think the next level down is "wallpaper". (HT: Tim Meehan on facebook).


Canwest hit a new all-time low today of 30 cents before rebounding to 34 cents.

(BTW: Could any investor rely on Morningstar's "news"? It's just Canwest's press releases, which are an interesting collection of "whistling past the graveyard" PR.)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Today's happy thought

Four weeks from today is the first day of spring.

Fun with figures

There are stories and blogs out today saying GM stock is now worth what it was in 1938. That's not true. A GM share is now worth a little more than a chocolate bar. In 1938, it took about 30 chocolate bars to buy a GM share. And in 1938, buy that GM share would have been a smart move. Not so now.

Friday, February 20, 2009

An idea for the auto bailout

Why doesn't the government use the bailout money to buy cars?
They could replace all the cop cars, executive perk cars, military vehicles (including bonuses for soldiers who have served in Afghanistan) and all the other government vehicles.
The lottery companies could buy a bunch and add them to the prize pool.
It certainly would guarantee auto workers' jobs, plus we'd get something for our money. And maybe it would diffuse the very solid case that can be made by Japan, Germany and other car-making companies that Detroit is getting an unfair subsidy.

Taps for the Aspers

Lenny Asper is furiously scrounging for financial help for Canwest, but the price of saving the company may, in fact, be the removal of the Aspers themselves, according to this Globe and Mail piece. Time is short: bankruptcy beckons, perhaps in March.
As I said in 2006, a recession would make this company ripe for take-over, break-up and asset stripping. Prem Watsa and his Fairfax Financial want to do exactly that. They hold a large minority interest in the company. Watsa is the only large Canwest shareholder who's solvent, so he gets to call the shots. The creditors are worried they'll take a big hit on Canwest's high-interest, low-grade debt of nearly $4 billion.
In the past two weeks, some two million shares have changed hands. For most companies, that much extra trading would likely drive up the stock, but, in fact, it's fallen, then bounced back a little bit (and now tanked. See update below). The market thinks this company's dead, like Nortel. I'm not so sure. I'd bet on Fairfax's ability to come out with something after the Aspers are gone, the company is split up, the convergence model is ditched, and the various assets are sold.
The specialty channels are Canwest's jewels, despite the fact most of them are extremely poorly -- and obviously very cheaply -- programmed. Now, who wants to buy a newspaper chain and a TV network? That's the tricky part. The smart thing would be for the new owners to hang on through the recession, install new managers throughout the entire organization (the genesis of the troubles, in my opinion), and sell them when they show a profit.
Which they will, when papers are no longer run like TV stations, and TV stations are run with some intelligence.
The other scenario -- which, I think, is far less likely -- is for Asper to shake up senior management, bring in a restructuring expert, close money-losing operations and fix the rest of the organization.
That was the 2007 solution. We're way past that now.

The stock is trading at 36 cents at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 20. That's just a couple of cents above the all-time low of 34 cents, set last November. At Christmas, Canwest flirted with 90 cents before re-starting its track downward.
The market is stating its opinion very clearly.


The Globe now says the vultures are not only circling, they've also come up with serious plans for the carcass.
The stock hit an all-time low of 31 cents today.
This afternoon, I sat in on a Montreal Gazette news management meeting. It was such a contrast to the corporate mess. Here were skilled, dedicated, honest and extremely professional people planning Saturday's paper. These are some of the people who are at risk because of this mess, and I hope they come out of this with their jobs and their paper intact. Canwest's problems were not made in the newsroom, but in the boardroom. Yet, it's the journalists who have suffered the most and who seem to have the most concern about the future.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

You read it here first

As I said last September, George Radwanski walked. He wasn't acquitted because of his friends in high places. In Ottawa, Radwanski always had more enemies than friends. He was not guilty of the charges because he had no intention of defrauding anyone of anything. As the trial showed, Radwanski is awful with money and not a well-organized man. That's far from being a criminal.
If you do look at my Sept. 26, 2008 post, there are some good reasons to look into the organized attack on Radwanski's reputation.
Even though he's not guilty, Radwanski has been put through the wringer. I believe it would be proper for the government to pay his legal fees and give him a financial settlement for forcing him out of his job.

Canwest Death Watch... the story you don't see in Canada's Newspapers

CanWest bankruptcy a 'possibility'
Miriam Steffens
Sydney Morning Herald

February 14, 2009
THE pressure on Network Ten's majority owner, CanWest, is not letting up, and analysts are raising the spectre of bankruptcy for the cash-strapped media group.

The company, controlled by the Asper family, early this week began looking for buyers for five of its free-to-air television stations in Canada as it is seeking to avert breaching its lending covenants this quarter.

Running a second television network in Canada was "no longer key to the long-term success of our broadcasting business", its chief executive, Leonard Asper, said, adding the company would focus on his main network, Global Television, and its pay TV businesses there.

But observers have started to question whether CanWest will get any offers for the stations in the market downturn, or free enough cash through such a sale to significantly reduce its $C3.7 billion ($4.5 billion) debt. On Tuesday Standard & Poor's lowered its long-term credit rating for the company to CCC, eight steps below investment grade, citing its "deteriorating liquidity position".

Bob Bek of CIBC World Markets told Reuters on Thursday that the company was "on the verge of bankruptcy".

Randal Rudniski, an analyst with Credit Suisse, said "a Chapter 11 [bankruptcy protection] filing is certainly a possibility".

However, he said it was more likely the company would seek "to find a remedy for its high debt leverage without court protection", leaving the Asper family control of its struggling empire.

CanWest bankers turned up the heat on the company last week when they set a limit to the amount of money the company can borrow this month.

The move has rekindled speculation over the future ownership of Ten. Mr Asper stressed two months ago that the family was intent on holding on to the business, but bankers could force it to sell the stake if covenants are breached as the loans are secured against assets including Ten.

However, observers said it was questionable that lenders would opt for such a move in the downturn, since it could be hard to get offers for Ten, whose ratings and advertising have fallen.

Contacted by Reuters in Canada over the report, a CanWest spokesman declined to comment on the analyst predictions of a possible bankruptcy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Canwest corpse watch

About a year ago, I began the Canwest Deathwatch feature. I had seen the shares tumble while listening to university professors prattle on about convergence and the new media. I realized then that the Internet is every lame publisher and editor's dream. It gets the blame for the fact newspapers are dying. No need to talk about over-leveraging, lousy reporting, vapid Boomer lifestyle features and all the rest. The Internet is the great journalistic sin eater.
Canwest is the poster boy for media fuck-ups. A family-operated company, the heirs of Izzy Asper turned out to be dumb rich kids. Debt costs bred layoffs. I said 18 months ago Canwest would die in the next recession.
Well, it's here.
Today, Reuters is carrying a story about the likelihood of Canwest seeking court protection from its creditors.
I think people who work at Global TV and Canwest papers, and those people who want to work in media, should look towards the future. Canwest's insolvency is the best thing to happen to Canadian journalism in a decade. There is no way the Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette and the rest of the Canwest papers will close. They make lots of money. As for the National Post, it will survive in some form, probably as the Financial Post with a rather Wall Street Journal-like news section.
Most of the TV stations will make it, under various owners.
But the management will change. This can only be a good thing for Canadian journalism.
Things can't be too bad. This guy still has a job.

Liar liar...

...skis on fire.
Vancouver's hapless Olympics committee, deeply in hock and already saddled with grotesque, unmarketable but oh-so-BC politically correct mascots, unveils a rather disturbing Olympic torch.

Jean Drapeau is 134

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tag Day for Broadcasters

The CRTC says all the broadcasters in the country earned, in total, $8 million last year.
Canwest is asking the CRTC to re-consider its decision not to charge cable companies (and, through them, cable subscribers) for carrying Canwest's stations. It was a bad decision. The History Channel gets carriage fees, despite the fact it's unwatchable because of all the ads. So does the Aboriginal Channel and CBC Snoozeworld. Why shouldn't the CBC, CTV and Global?
Still, fat chance the commission will change its mind just months after its original decision.
Meanwhile, someone bought half a million shares of Canwest stock today, driving the shares up a dime from 48 cents to 58 cents.
Prem Wata and his Fairfax holding company now own about 23% of the company.


Moody's says today CanWest's "flinging bar tables and chairs in front of its pursuers" business plan is a non-starter and the stock lost 20% this morning.

Monday, February 09, 2009

How to Look Stoopid

Five CNBC anchors, not a brain among them or in sum, interview the two hottest ticket economic thinkers around -- people Michael Dell and Bill Gates stood in line to hear in Davos -- and don't let them complete a single thought.
BTW, here's my own prediction about the recession: it will be at least as deep as the '81 recession and will last at least four years. (In Britain, a senior minister, the unfortunately-named Ed Balls, says this may be the worst recession in 100 years. And he's right that this mess resembles the Panic of 1907, especially in the role of Wall Street and commodities speculators.). Consider this. The entire Harper government stimulus plan involves a spending deficit of about $40 billion a year. That was a normal deficit during the Mulroney years.
As well, nothing is being done to address the dismantling of Canadian industry. Last year, because of the Harper government's high dollar policy, the last Canadian snow blower maker went out of business. Now you can't buy a snowblower in Canada for love or money. When the rest of Canada's industry is gone, all we'll have is commodities, leaving us in a perpetual boom and bust cycle. Yet, in this stimulus package there's lots of money for government construction and all the graft that goes with it, and very little else.
I don't think government spending, especially the type that Obama and Harper are doing, will save us from a deep and long recession and a lousy recovery. Changing government policy by weeding out bad banks and bankers and toughening securities law enforcement would help. So would an effective innovation and investment bank, similar to the Business Development Bank of Canada, except without the bureaucracy and patronage.


Stuck at home sick today (Tuesday). What's with CBC Newsworld? Do they think this is a nation of morons? Why do they talk like they're explaining quantum physics to a six-year old? And what's up with Colleen Jones? Could anyone be more insipid? Right now, she's backtracking on an earlier announcement that Ottawa schools are closed today. They're not. Ooooooopsie-woooooopsie.

The Future of Magazines

Newsweek may make it by doing this, but I wouldn't given them even odds. Newsweek faces stiff competition for that market, but it has realized the weekly news summary magazine died with free news on the Internet.
In Canada, McClones was re-worked into a somewhat interesting conservative magazine that appeals to people like me who enjoyed the original National Post for its quirkiness and eclectic writers. Still, my gut says the new Maclean's is out of step with these recessionary times and the new Obama world. I'd say there's about a 3 to 1chance Maclean's will be gone in five years or sooner. Maclean's has moved far too far from the Canadian magazine-buying mainstream and puts far too much online.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Why your newspaper sucks

From 1981 until 1994, I was paid, first by the Globe and Mail, then by the Toronto Star, to cover news in central Ontario. In those days, neither of these papers would have missed a story about an unarmed mentally handicapped man being shot dead by cops in front of his adoptive mother. If they had, the editors would have kicked serious ass. They actually cared about getting news. Well, all the Toronto papers missed this story, as did all other papers except the local rags in Midland, Barrie and Orillia. CBC missed it. So did CTV, Canwest and the other media survivors.
Either they missed it or cops shooting unarmed mentally handicapped aboriginal people is no longer news. Somehow, even an old hound like me can't be so far out of mainstream culture to have missed the day when the media stopped considering cop shootings of handicapped aboriginal people in group homes to be news.
(BTW, the Midland Free Press had five reporters on its award-winning staff in 1985. Now it has a full-time staff of one. And, for some mysterious reason, far fewer people buy it. How 'bout that?)

Yup. The Star did have a tiny story on their web site. They re-wrote the police press release, thereby missing all of the interesting details. Nothing about the guy being unarmed, mentally handicapped, and aboriginal.
This is the state of Canadian journalism.

Don't tell me newspapers are dying. Newspapers are killing themselves. They are literally becoming news anorexics.

You read it here first

Despite a few errors, this is a great piece in Toronto Life on the Canwest mess. Posner, a reporter at the Globe and Mail, completely avoids the problems with the newspapers and with the convergence model Canwest has adopted. The slash + burn = suckage equation is not addressed.

Meanwhile, Rick McGinnis tells us how life really is (or ends) on Metro, one of the freebie tabloids that was supposed to be the future of journalism.

Meanwhile, here's the latest Globe story on Canwest's run-for-the-saloon-door-while-knocking-over-chairs-and-tables business plan.

Note to David Thomson: I would have paid to read this story, but you gave it away. Sucker.

Ht for both: Eye magazine's Marc Weisblott.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Fewcher of Gerbilism

As I've said many, many times, any publisher who posts local or exclusive news on a web site and lets people read it free is just plain stupid. The puny ad revenues of web site banner ads and the small number of stream video ads don't justify giving journalism content away. The key to saving newspapers (and magazines) is for the wire services to ban the use of their material on the Internet and for newspapers to take almost all of their local and original copy off their web pages. Information has value, and no smart business person gives valuable stuff away. Its as though lawyers would post downloadabke will kits and how-to instructions on registering a house sale or do-it-yourself divorce tips. For some reason, they don't.
Contrary to what academics and some TV types say -- and I heard another one yesterday -- the future of quality journalism is not on the Internet. There is no business model that supports the shift of mass media to the web. Instead, companies like Canwest, CTVGlobemedia and the Toronto Star have cannibalized their journalistic resources to pay for a web-based convergence that does not make them any money.
The problem is the ad departments are calling the shots. Having never valued journalism, they see no problem in giving it away in hopes of generating some web site ad money.
Interestingly, at least in Canada, the more a company has adopted a covergence model -- print, broadcast, Internet -- the worse its stock has performed.
Convergence has resulted in job losses, circulation declines, and, worst of all, a serious reduction in the quality of individual stories.
This piece, from Time magazine, makes the case well.
I would have bought the magazine just to read the article, but Time was dumb enough to give it to me for nothing.
Meanwhile, the company that has done the most to "converge" its media businesses continues to become unglued. Canwest is unloading several TV stations to raise some cash to keep the bankers at bay.
That decision drove the stock up one shiny penny. It's now just a bit less than half the price it was at Christmas, about 1/15th of where it was a year ago, and 1/50 its price before it was sucker... um, bought Conrad Black's newspaper chain.

HT for the Time piece: Small Dead Animals.

Beware of Unreasonable Expectations

Barack Obama isa brilliant young politician, but no one can live up to the hype of the Left.
(Plus this type of photo set-up is getting rather tiresome).

Monday, February 02, 2009

Canwest Death Watch, part XLI

"Everything is on the table" as Canwest's bankers turn the screws today and the stock tumbles 16%.
I rather doubt there will be a lock-out at the Montreal Gazette. Canwest can't afford to lose the cash flow.

Make that a 2-day stock loss of about 20%.
Bay Street thinks Canwest isn't going to make it.


Canwest closed yesterday (Feb. 3) at 39 cents. It started the year at 90 cents, which was actually a rather interesting dead cat bounce after months of slowly declining, bottoming at 34 cents in the fall.
I suspect we'll see a new low soon.

How 'bout that Nickle Resolution

You know the one? The 1919 House of Commons resolution was trotted out to deny Conrad Black his British title. It was also quietly used to deny Canadian sharpshooters US medals for their fine performance in Afghanistan. Jean Charest has been awarded France's Legion of Honor. It comes on the heels of an orgy of Legion of Honor awards to Canadians who took part in recent World War II sixtieth anniversary commemorations in France. I'm sure the feds will be right on top of this, right? Right?